On Friday, Zygi and Mark Wilf served lunch to construction workers at the new Vikings stadium and took a tour of the site.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings on Friday shared heartfelt thanks to nearly 1,000 construction workers who are helping a dream design of the new Vikings stadium become a reality.
The Wilf family and Vikings ownership group treated the men and women to a lunch catered by partner Aramark and gifted gray hooded sweatshirts with a "Proud to build our future" slogan above a logo of the stadium that is about a third complete and on schedule to open in July 2016.
Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf thanked stadium partner Minnesota Sports Facilities Association, as well as Mortenson Construction and HKS Architecture for their roles in what he said will be "the most amazing, iconic building in the United States for sports," and emphasized how important each worker's role is in bringing to life the bold design.
"I want to thank each and every one of you men and women who are going to make this happen," Wilf said. "We thank you for all your hard work today and going forward. I know for all of you as for all of us, we're going to tell our children and grandchildren that we were part of this amazing project, so really, we just want to say, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you,' for all of your hard work to date and all of your hard work to come. We appreciate you and your families and wish you all a good holiday season."
The event was held inside a warmed area enclosed by plastic that will become the Vikings Club, one of the building's signature gathering spaces that will take the fan experience to unprecedented levels.
Ted Mondale, CEO/Executive Director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, thanked the Vikings and the workers. Mondale said the commitment from workers in the elements was particularly noticeable in November.
As temperatures plummeted, the stadium continued to rise, moving closer toward the goal line each and every week.
"It is amazing to see all the work that you do," Mondale said. "I just want to say on behalf of the state public authority, we're so proud of you, we're so proud of what is happening, and we wish all of you a great and happy holiday season."
Wilf told members of the media that he has a high appreciation of seeing the progress the workers have made just a year since the groundbreaking occurred on Dec. 3, 2013.
"When you see the heights involved and the massiveness of the steel beams and all the detail work, and we know how many years of planning have gone on from a lot of different architects, designers, construction people, to see it come out of the ground and see the work they put into it is really remarkable," Wilf said.
Mortenson Senior Vice President John Wood said workers have appreciated the opportunity to build the largest construction project in state history and Friday's event that recognized their efforts.
"Everybody enjoys getting a pat on the back," Wood said. "They're busting their butts out here, and I think being told they're doing a good job and that it's appreciated by the people that are paying for this means a lot to them."
There are about 750 workers on site daily, and that number will increase substantially next summer. The project is exceeding workforce, construction and design equity goals established by the Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority at its onset.
"The job is just awesome," Wood said. "It sort of exceeds the experience that anybody that's working out here has ever had. It's the biggest project ever built in the state of Minnesota, so for almost all of us, it's the biggest thing we've done in our careers."
Wood, who began with the Minneapolis-based company in 1977, said $37 million of work was completed in November. That figure equaled the entire revenue for Mortenson in 1976, Wood said.
"There's so many superlatives that represent what's going on out here it's amazing," Wood said.